Department of Medicines and Medical Products: Our goal is to implement price regulation for essential medicines

In recent years, the Kyrgyz Republic has been actively working on regulating medicine prices. Significant efforts have been made to develop a mechanism for regulating medicine prices, study the experience of other countries and create a model for regulating medicine prices that is suitable for our country.

At the same time, it must be noted that there is no one-fit model of price regulation that would be suitable for all countries since price regulation is affected by multiple factors, such as population number, import dependency, availability of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, etc.

The current price regulation mechanism approved by the Decree of the Government of the KR № 91 of 28.07.2021, is a temporary testing mechanism intended to start regulating prices with the following two categories of medicines:

  • Medicines reimbursed within the scope of the Additional Mandatory Health Insurance Program and the State Guarantees Program;
  • Medicines for treating coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

After testing the price regulation mechanism on the above-indicated categories, it will be scaled up to cover the entire List of Essential Medicines (LEM).

It should be noted that in the context of virtually complete import dependency, the small size of the country’s pharmaceutical market, and a small scale of pharmaceutical production, it is necessary to be very cautious since excessive interventions may have serious ramifications. We must take into account the negative experiences of other countries, when many essential medicines disappeared from the pharm market, or the experience of the Russian Federation when cheaper medicine categories were flushed out of the market.

In the past months, the Interdepartmental Working Group consisting of SCNC, MoH KR and SAAR representatives has established a platform for dialogue with heads of major pharmaceutical companies that have broad networks with a wide range of medicines and discussed issues related to the sale of medicines, and problematic aspects connected to the affordability of drugs. Pharm companies have also been informed about the inadmissibility of unjustified price hikes. As a result, pharmaceutical companies held talks with manufacturing plants that have demonstrated social responsibility and voluntarily reduced prices on a number of medicines. Prices in the retail sector have also been reduced.

Regarding the 500 medicine trade names: this is a provisional list of medicines defined for monitoring purposes and used to determine whether a reduction in prices took place since this reduction also affected other medicines not included in the monitored group. Due to this, the list with 500 names includes medicines from different pharmacology classes.

Unfortunately, the process of introducing price regulation and the achieved results are accompanied by a storm of negative criticisms caused by a misinterpretation of the conducted activities on enforcing the legislation of the KR on the sale of medicines, which stipulates that state regulation of relations in the field of the sale of medicines is carried out through a policy of effective price regulation for medicines included in LEM. Since ensuring access of the population to medicines at affordable prices is one of the primary goals of any country in the world.

In addition, the Department is actively working on implementing an e-database of medicines. To ensure the transparency of price regulation activities and access to information for the population and pharmaceutical companies, an e-catalog of prices was developed and integrated with the national e-database of medicines and medical products (EDB).

Currently, a number of activities are underway to regulate prices of medicines included in the List of Essential Medicines and prevent unjustified price increases.

The Department asks for understanding with regard to the ongoing efforts on enforcing price regulation policy and declares its readiness for an open and comprehensive discussion of any issues related to price regulation and other issues connected to the sale of medicines.